Growing up with the best horror films of this generation, prejudice against older films that are considered modern classics, is something that I find myself with quite a bit. I never really wanted to watch House of Wax, believing it to be just another old cheap scare that I wouldn't really enjoy. However, my soulmate brought it up in a conversation, and I remember seeing it in Blockbuster, years ago, when I was younger, and wanting to watch it then. Maybe that was just because it was a horror film and I was like "lol, I'm a big kid now", but the remembrance of this made me finally sit down and watch it.
Despite the occasional cheap jump scare, this is actually a really well thought out film; with a good plot, and a story line that doesn't end up losing it's substance, I was thoroughly impressed.
First, this started off very cheaply. It was your typical horror film starting, kids camping out in the forest, something going wrong, and a creepy guy in a truck. This all added up to seem to be another film filled with dumb, sex driven teenagers who were going to fall over from the guy with the chainsaw. However, once this actually started past the introduction, this started to get extremely nerve racking. Within moments of them stepping into the actual House of Wax, I had goosebumps all over my arms and creeping down my spine. I was shocked, and I felt the paranoia creeping up on me itself. Despite one or two jump scares, cheap and just there for the shock of being scared, this was all a really good beginning, with much more class than I cared to believe the film had before watching.
As the story began to unravel and become more apparent with more clues as the story progresses, it reveals a story that has obviously had a lot of thought put into it, and really shocked me. Considering this was made 2004-2005, there was so much to this especially with the plot twists and with Vincent. I was truly in awe at just how well done this was, and honestly, I don't think I've ever found a more interesting story line within a horror film that has shocked me this much.
The ending, was a little bit shaky. Although well rounded, with good acting, there was some parts that just really made me cringe, including Carly's weak attempt at psychological profiling with Vincent, but other than that, this was really, really a good end to the film. There was action, but not too much, the girls weren't completely helpless and managed to at least defend themselves for some time, and it was just really well rounded up.
The characters in this were actually really interesting. A lot of characters in horror films are usually just big breasted women, and the big hunky jocks, to pull people in of all varieties. Although this did have that, the characters in House of Wax were well developed, seemed to have real, actual problems going on, and all had a relationship within each other that helped aid the subplot of the story to some degree. Going on from this, all of the actors did extremely well. I was honestly shocked at the acting quality. They all tried really hard for this film, and it's obvious that they worked at it. There was not a single character in this that I had trouble believing was a real person, that I could find among the real world.
Overall, this was really creepy, and a lot scarier than I first thought – although the description makes it sound like a bit of a different film – I believed that the wax figures were alive, but maybe that was just my interpretation of what was written. I don't think I've seen a film from the 2000's that has actually scared me as much as this has, other than Mirrors (2008). I'd say this is definitely a horror film modern classic and it's a film I'm definitely going to rewatch again.